NB: This is a work-in-progress and will likely have more additions in the near future.
NB2: This isn’t really a “mini-guide” now that I look at it.
NB3: This is merely my opinion and not canon. Please do not repost it anywhere.
Paladin is a rather gear-intensive job if played right, like most other jobs. Its primary role is main tank in the average party, so it should be geared to maintain hate without being too much of an MP sink. The traditional way to do this was to stack defense, VIT, and HP to prolong its survival while working to mitigate damage. While this worked to a degree, it sacrificed offensive capabilities for defense. While one would think that a tank would want to be purely defensive, and it certainly makes sense, these days pure defense isn’t the better way to go.
The major reasoning for this paradigm shift lies in the updates to Shield a while back as well as the shift to “TP burn” parties and chaining high VT and low IT mobs. Due to shield blocks being more effective, a Paladin can swap certain def/VIT/HP gear for shield skill+ gear for much of the same effect. Furthermore, a Paladin can add in accuracy, enmity, and attack to help bolster its offensive capabilities to help defeat the enemy more quickly.
All this verbiage leads into what my choices were when I leveled Paladin, which I will now mention.
The only logical choice for Paladin is to use Sword and Shield. I will now list out what I used.
Level – Item – Comments
1 – Wax Sword +1 – +2 accuracy is awesome in the early solo levels.
11 – Bee Spatha +1 – Highly recommend soloing until 11 then using this. +2 accuracy is still awesome.
19 – Auriga Xiphos – While a slightly annoying NM drop, it is +2 accuracy again and will last until 30.
30 – Centurion’s Sword – No question here, +3 accuracy and +4 attack.
34 – Hunting Sword – The first bastard sword-class sword. Upgrade for more raw damage.
39 – Grudge Sword – +1 enmity helps ever so slightly, plus it’s dirt cheap.
42 – Honor Sword – AF weapon, can’t beat free. It’s also a good sword for its level.
50 – Tactician Magician’s Espadon – Don’t let anyone fool you, this sword rocks. +12 attack is nothing to scoff at.
52 – Tactician Magician’s Espadon +1 – Get the +2 if you can afford it, otherwise the +1 is fine.
60 – Bastard Sword – I skipped Gluttony Sword because it’s not that much better. Plus this is significantly cheaper.
65 – Macuahuitl +1 – Buy this. Now. Even if you don’t use it in exp (the -4 acc can hurt somewhat), it is still awesome for the +4 enmity. Can be useful if you have trouble holding hate in exp though.
66 – Espadon – Minor upgrade from the Bastard Sword and not terribly expensive either.
70 – Joyeuse – You will never stop using this, ever. For Atonement spam this is awesome, and the near-constant double attack helps greatly with holding hate.
70 – Company Sword – If you don’t have Joyeuse this works fine. It also works well for /NIN in the main hand with Joyeuse offhanded.
70 – Durandal – I will mention this because I see so many Paladins using it. It really isn’t worth buying. Ever wonder why it went from being 300k to 5k? A certain Level 65 sword with +4 enmity is why… So please, do not use this. The Macuahuitl +1 isn’t that expensive. If you’re looking for a “DD” sword, Company isn’t that much more expensive and does more damage. Sure it lacks the 1 enmity Durandal has, but again, 1 enmity isn’t going to make or break you.
Staff used to be a good option, but the shield updates practically killed that. However, there are two or three you should pick up nonetheless. I have these for my Red Mage, so I figured carrying them around on Paladin was worth it.
51 – Dark Staff – Any job that uses MP should have one of these for the +HealingMP.
51 – Earth Staff – Used to be awesome for PLDs due to the -20% physical damage taken, but no longer good due to the shield updates. Still somewhat nice to have for skilling staff with.
51 – Light Staff – Good for PLing or if you somehow get invited as PLD/WHM to be main healer. I would run from such a party though.
Ranged slot is a tough one. Not too many choices here.
1 – Happy/Fortune Egg – If you have it, use it.
30 – Morion Tathlum – MP+ is useful, not really much better here.
30 – RSE Sachet – My Balm Sachet as a Hume Male was nice for 1 STR.
54 – Smart Grenade – Attack+4, just be careful not to throw it.
58 – Tiphia Sting – Attack +2, Accuracy +2, but -Evasion and -HP could hurt if you have a lot of that already.
The addition of Shield Mastery enabled shields to be useful. As before, Sword and Shield is the way to go for Paladin in most parties.
1 – Lauan Shield – Only option, keep until 9.
9 – Clipeus – Easy NM drop, use until 20.
20 – Decurion’s Shield – 1 more DEF than Clipeus, possibly skippable.
25 – Bastokan Targe – 1 more DEF than Decurion’s (its +1 in fact).
29 – Kite Shield – The first Size 3 shield, and free from the PLD quest. Keep until 38.
38 – Jennet Shield – Slight upgrade to Kite, keep until 50.
50 – Royal Knight’s Shield – One choice, keep until 60.
50 – Temple Knight’s Shield – An alternate, keep until 60.
50 – Sentinel Shield – If you are sufficient Mercenary Rank, get it. Keep until 60 or 73, depending on playstyle. Plus it looks great.
60 – Iron Ram Shield – Great upgrade, can keep until 70+.
69 – Terror Shield – Use it if you have it, great piece, especially for Campaign.
70 – Sipar – The infamous drop from Adamantoise! Insane for skillups, but not so good for exp.
73 – Koenig Shield – Most common shield for endgame, great pick.
The most prominent visible slot is the body, and this slot usually adds the most defense.
1-10 – Whatever works, but I suggest soloing to 11.
10 – Scale Mail – Good old standby, works for a few levels.
16 – Bone Harness +1 – HQs are cheap at this level, no reason not to use them.
17 – Lizard Jerkin – If you didn’t go with the harness.
21 – Beetle Harness +1 – See Bone Harness +1.
24 – Chainmail – More defense than before.
29 – Eisenbrust – Get Kampfbrust if you can afford it, but the NQ works as well.
40 – Royal Squire’s Chainmail – First “DD” upgrade, works quite nicely.
45 – Iron Ram Chainmail – Slight upgrade from Royal Squire’s.
50 – Parade Cuirass – Looks ugly, but the HP+ and Enmity+ are awesome for their level.
55 – Royal Knight’s Chainmail – DD upgrade from Parade Cuirass.
59 – Vermillion Cloak – If you have this, it makes a great resting piece and is killer if you have MP problems.
59 – Haubergeon – Do not skip this: 10 accuracy and 10 attack is huge. The -20 evasion isn’t anything to worry about as PLD, after all, PLDs don’t evade worth anything. I used this until 75.
60 – Gallant Surcoat – Get your AF body to use as a macro piece for cures and job abilities. Also nice to put in your “ohsh–!” macro.
Nothing beyond this point is worth using except Gallant Surcoat +1, Valor Surcoat, Hydra Haubert, or Ares’ Cuirass, but again, most people will be 75 PLD before they get those. Adaman Cuirass is not better than your AF body.
Next up are headpieces, the second most prominent visible slot.
1-10 – Anything is fine, but again, solo to 11.
10 – Royal Footman’s Bandana – AGI+1 is a placebo for shield blocks.
16 – Bone Mask +1 – HQs cheap at this level, go for this.
17 – Lizard Helm – If you didn’t pick the mask.
21 – Beetle Mask +1 – See Bone Mask +1.
24 – Emperor/Empress Hairpin – HP-15 hurts slightly, but DEX and AGI +3 help melee and shield blocks. The 10 evasion is nice too. Use this until 40, if not further.
24 – Iron Mask – If you don’t have the Hairpin.
29 – Eisenschaller – Get this if you don’t have the hairpin, and Kampfschaller is even better.
40 – Iron Musketeer’s Armet – A decent upgrade from Eisen.
43 – Valkyrie’s Mask – Would suggest this over the Armet. Attack, MP, and about the same defense. This should last you quite a while.
56 – Gallant Coronet – AF headpiece, good macro piece for enmity.
68 – Iron Ram Sallet – Enmity headpiece upgrade, also good for a magic defense build.
70 – Optical Hat – 10 accuracy, what more can I say?
75 – Walahra Turban – 5% haste is awesome.
The hands are an important slot for varying stats.
1-10 – Anything, but solo to 11.
10 – Royal Footman’s Gloves – Attack +3 helps early on.
14 – Battle Gloves – Accuracy +3, you will use this for a long time.
30 – Royal Squire’s Mufflers – 1 less accuracy than Battle Gloves, but more defense. Upgrade if you think it necessary.
45 – Iron Ram Mufflers – Accuracy +3, and a slight bonus to attack and accuracy when used with other Iron Ram pieces.
50 – Royal Knight’s Mufflers – Same accuracy and slightly more defense than Iron Ram. Optional.
54 – Gallant Gauntlets – Enmity +2 relegates these to an enmity macro piece.
55 – Fourth Gauntlets – Accuracy +5, worth upgrading to.
68 – Iron Ram Dastanas – Enmity +4 make these your enmity macro piece, also good for magic defense build.
72 – Dusk Gloves – Haste +3% is awesome, not to mention more HP, more defense, and more attack.
Leg armor next!
1-10 – Anything, but solo to 11.
10 – Scale Cuisses – Nothing special, just works.
16 – Bone Subligar +1 – HQs cheap once again.
17 – Lizard Trousers – If you didn’t use the subligar.
20 – Royal Footman’s Trousers – I picked these because of VIT+1.
21 – Beetle Subligar +1 – If you didn’t use the previous.
24 – Chain Hose – More defense.
25 – Republic Subligar – It’s a subligar, but attack +5 is huge. Just be glad PLD doesn’t wear this until 70+. Can use until 40.
40 – Royal Squire’s Breeches – Slight downgrade attack-wise from republigar, but slightly more defense.
45 – Iron Ram Breeches – Upgrade from Royal Squire’s and gives a slight accuracy and attack bonus when paired with other Iron Ram gear.
50 – Iron Musketeer’s Cuisses – More defense and AGI+2 make these awesome for this level.
55 – Royal Knight’s Breeches – STR, DEX, and Attack. Can use until 70+.
58 – Gallant Breeches – Enmity makes them yet another macro piece.
72 – Dusk Trousers – Attack +14 and the highest raw defense on leg armor in the game.
1-10 – Anything, but solo to 11.
7 – Leaping/Bounding Boots – DEX and AGI help offense and shield blocks. I used this for quite a while.
18 – Power Sandals – VIT+3 is nice, also 7 fire resist for placebo in the dunes and elsewhere.
24 – Greaves – If you don’t have leapers or power sandals.
29 – Eisenschuhs – VIT+2, Kampfschuhs have VIT+3.
52 – Gallant Leggings – Shield Skill + 10, oh happy day! These should never leave your feet if you are /WAR.
72 – Dusk Ledelsens – Haste +2% is good for Flash recast. Also nice if you get to go /NIN in a TP burn.
Rings contain the most basic of stat enhancements.
1-14 – I usually rock my San d’Orian and Windurstian Rings ‘cuz I’m pimp like that.
14 – 2x Courage, 2x Balance, or 2x Stamina Rings – STR, DEX, or VIT (+2 each), swapped depending on the situation.
30 – 2x Shikaree Rings – +2 accuracy each is better than nothing, though I sometimes stick to 2 Stamina Rings instead.
40 – 2x Woodsman Rings – A total of +10 accuracy (at the expense of 10 evasion, but again, PLD evades like a brick) is the staple of all melee jobs.
43 – Mermaid Ring – Enmity +2, great to macro in for JAs and cures.
57 – Bomb Queen Ring – HP+75 at the expense of 75 Fire resist. Not terribly useful for exp, but can be nice to use at the start if you have TP for a big Spirits Within.
63 – Jelly Ring – -5% physical damage can add up quickly, but +5% magic damage can also add up quickly. Beware around magic attacks.
66 – Hercules’ Ring – +3 enmity and 1MP/tick Refresh and 3MP/tick Regen while below 50% HP. Can be nice in a pinch.
Earrings normally complement rings’ stat bonuses.
1-10 – Really no options.
10 – Onyx Earring x2 – A little extra MP for the early levels.
21 – Beetle Earring +1 x2 – Total of 6 attack at the expense of 4 evasion. Once again, PLD does not evade, so 4 evasion isn’t anything to worry about.
35 – Buckler Earring – Trade one Beetle+1 for this. Shield Skill +3! This should be glued to your ear until you finish leveling to 75.
55 – Spike Earring – Trade your Beetle+1 for this, 2 more attack at the expense of 3 more evasion.
63 – Coral (Merman’s) Earring – If you go with the NQ (Coral), this is an optional upgrade. All you gain over Spike is -1% magic damage taken. Merman’s, however, is Attack+6 Evasion-4 and -2% magic damage taken. Merman’s is quite expensive, however.
72 – Ethereal Earring – Change to this if you are lucky enough to possess it. HP+15, Attack+5, Evasion+5, “Converts 3% of damage taken to MP.” Reward from Apocalypse Nigh.
72 – Suppanomimi – Sword Skill +5, AGI+2, Enhances “Dual Wield.” Reward from Divine Might, really only useful for /NIN, though if you’re pushing for max Sword skill, it is nice to use.
The Neck slot is a strange one. Various stats are enhanced through it.
7 – Wing Pendant – AGI+1, really nothing better.
21 – Spike Necklace – The first HQ most players pick up. STR+3, DEX+3, MND-6. Usually macroed out for cures.
24 – Holy Phial – MP+9, MND+3. Usually swapped with Spike Necklace for cures.
25 – Tiger Stole – Attack+5. An alternative to the Spike Necklace.
33 – Peacock Charm/Amulet – The ultimate melee neckpiece. Accuracy+10, Ranged Accuracy+10, Dark Resist-10. Really no reason not to use this if you are engaged to the mob.
50 – Parade Gorget – MP+10, 1MP/tick Refresh above 85% HP. If your mages can keep you in white HP easily, this is awesome. Also great for resting!
60 – Chivalrous Chain – Accuracy+5, Store TP+1, STR+3. Alternative if you lack a PCC.
65 – Shield Torque – Shield Skill+7. Macro in for spells you don’t want interrupted or if you’re just taking a beating.
70 – Ritter Gorget – HP+25, Evasion+5, Enmity+3. Macro in for JAs and cures. Einherjar reward.
72 – Harmonia’s Torque – Enmity+3, STR+2, VIT-5. Alternative to Ritter Gorget.
Back armor is fairly simple.
4 – Rabbit Mantle +1 – Nothing better, cheap HQ too.
12 – Traveler’s Mantle – If you have it.
18 – Dhalmel Mantle – More defense.
24 – Nomad’s Mantle – AGI+1, optional.
28 – Wolf Mantle +1 – More defense and some resistance in all elements.
40 – Resentment Cape – Enmity+2, -5% magic damage taken outside nation’s control. Will last forever for certain things.
61 – Amemet Mantle +1 – STR+2, Attack+15, Ranged Attack+15. This is significantly cheaper than it once was. Get the HQ!
Waist armor is simple as well.
7 – Leather Belt – Nothing really better.
15 – Warrior’s Belt +1 – Get the HQ! It is cheap and will last a long time. Used to last until 71, now situational at best past 40.
40 – Tilt Belt – Precursor to the Life Belt. +5 accuracy and -5 evasion.
48 – Life Belt – Accuracy+10, worth every penny.
50 – Swift Belt – Accuracy+3, Attack-5, Haste+4%. Use if you have it, but doesn’t really shine until you have at least 10% haste from equipment.
71 – Warwolf Belt – Enmity+3, macro in for JAs and cures.
I think that covers it. Once again, these were just my choices for leveling PLD to 75. Certainly every player has their own playstyle, and the setups for a 75 PLD are different than one coming up through the levels. I hope this helps at least one person gear their Paladin up.